This garden is a reinterpretation of The Garden of Tortures, a novel by the eclectic late 19th-century writer Octave Mirbeau.
Mirbeau was a plant lover with close ties to the artistic avant-garde of his day (Monet, Rodin, Pissarro and Van Gogh); his book proclaimed the novelist’s freedom and anticipated surrealism. Even today, this strange work, composed of “Vilmorin catalogues and Amnesty International reports” has an aftertaste of vitriol and a militant impertinence worth thinking on.
Our Jardin des supplices (Garden of Tortures) is an exercise in black humour, where the landscaping vocabulary proper to the garden (a peaceful place if ever there was one) is misappropriated and plants are used to suggest things terrible and unspeakable, forcing visitors to ponder on notions of good and evil, the beautiful and the ugly.
A winding path makes its way through a gallery of tortures daily inflicted by the gardener’s hands: shackled trunks, ligated branches, dismembered stalks, unwanted species smoked out and the nurturing soil ripped open…
After all, what else is a tool shed if it isn’t an executioner’s lair?
Florentin BOURCEREAU, landscape engineer and urban planner
Florentin Bourcereau is a landscape engineer and urban planner by training. Now aged 37, he spent a good ten years freelancing on Reunion Island, where he gained expertise in project management and the flora of tropical landscapes, as well as developing another conception of gardens and nature. After his return to the Atlantic shores where he grew up, he settled down in Vendée and now practises his profession in the Grand-Ouest. As a designer, he is particularly aware of the vitality that exudes from the spaces he works on, their potential for appropriation and the stories they suggest.